Inquest In UK Hears About Man’s Missing Organs

August 13, 2013

[Updated: Inquest heard some of the man's body organs were missing]

A second inquest into the death of a British man who died in Bermuda opened in the UK today [Aug 13].

Norman Palmer, 57, spent years working in the construction industry in Bermuda, and died from a throat condition in April 2008. He had preexisting respiratory problems from an accident with a firearm that occurred when he was a teenager.

YeovilPeople reports that, “Mr Palmer’s widow, Kathleen, who was with him at the time, says he was only advised to see a specialist ‘sooner rather than later”.

“He left the hospital and his wife tried to get an appointment with a specialist but none was available until April 18. He saw his GP on April 9 who prescribed an asthma inhaler and booked a scan for April 14. But on April 12 Mr Palmer began to suffocate at home and died at the hospital.”

In February 2009 a Bermuda coroner ruled Mr Palmer died of natural causes, and the family unsuccessfully sought to quash the verdict through judicial review.

“When Mr Palmer’s body was returned to England, some body parts were missing and East Somerset Coroner Tony Williams resolved to hold a second inquest, which opens at Wells Town Hall today,” reports YeovilPeople.

Update 4.51pm: The UK’s Guardian is reporting that, “The organs of a British man who died in Bermuda were removed without the consent or knowledge of his family – and have never been found, an inquest heard on Tuesday.”

The Guardian says when Mr Palmer’s body was repatriated to his home town of Yeovil a week later, it emerged many of his organs – including his brain, kidney and throat – were missing.

The organs have never been traced and no explanation given, though a pathologist in Bermuda later offered to return Palmer’s throat to British authorities, the Guardian’s report said.

His wife, Kathleen Palmer, told the East Somerset coroner’s court, “We didn’t bury a human being, we only buried a shell of the person who was my companion and soulmate. Someone needs to be held responsible for this despicable act. He need never have died.”

The BBC is also reporting on the matter, and said that this inquest recorded the cause of death as “respiratory failure caused by asthma related mucus plugging on the bronchi and laryngeal fibrosis.”

Update Aug 14: The UK media continue to report on the story, with the Daily Mail quoting the coroner as saying, “I am satisfied that these body parts would have been removed in Bermuda because of the lack of the Human Tissue Act. That meant the family were not advised of the removal and it only came to light as a result of further examination in this country.”

Heather Carberry, sister of Mr Palmer, said: “None of us have any idea what happened to my brother’s organs. We still don’t know what happened. All of his organs apart from one kidney are missing. They mutilated my brother. It is like a horror story.

“Where are his body parts? What did they do with them? What were they used for? Why didn’t they put them back? I believe that if this had happened in the UK it wouldn’t have come to my brother even needing to call an ambulance. He would still be alive.”

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  1. BHB: ‘Organs Were Returned With Deceased’ | Bernews.com | August 16, 2013
  1. out there says:

    body parts missing??

  2. Disgusted says:

    What????? Are we now stealing body parts for profit? What???

  3. Tough Love says:

    Awful. Died of natural causes? Are our coroners that lazy? Karma is something tho. Those who are at fault will get theirs.

  4. Y-Gurl says:

    Yet another example of the careless or could-care-less ethics that seem previlant in our society, how disturbing for the family

  5. E$ says:

    I find things about organs heart to stomach

    • Next says:

      Hahahaha! Wow you are quite the funny person. Whew what a comedian!

  6. ganja mon says:

    This has got to be the most wierd of incidents but the family need to let it go. On one hand they are saying if he was in the UK he would still be alive…If they felt that way, then he should have went to see a specialist there, especially knowing he had a preexisting issue.

    Give the family an explaination of what became of the body parts, if any, and move on. The man died, its a tragedy but I would not want to drag this out immortilizing the situation unless the family want money!

    • Fed up says:

      What!!!!!!! The family needs to let it go? Are you serious! What happened to their loved ones organs!?! Is it because the organs can not be seen that you dont care (out of sight, out of mind). Suppose it was his arm or leg missing, would you want them to still let it go and move on! Like you said, give the family an explanation of what became of the body parts, if any, and THEN AND ONLY THEN should they move on! This is exactly what the family wants, an explaination! I wouldn’t rest until I got an explanation either so until they get one, they will keep fighting for it.

      • Fed up says:

        And further more, I guess he should have called you to foot his bill to the UK to see the specialist. In the mean time he did go to see his GP and was given an appointment to find out what the issue was. Unfortunately, he passed before his appointment date.

      • Devil's Advocate (The Original) says:

        Organs regularly ‘go missing’ except that most of the time we don’t know about it! When doing an inquest, the pathologist has a limited amount of time before he has to release the body. They do preliminary examinations and sometimes remove organs for further study. Most of the times the organs end up back in the body but sometimes not-they are then destroyed with other hospital waste.

        These organs would not have been harvested for transplant! There is NO chance of that-nada, zero, zilch-so people need to stop surmising that’s what happened. You can’t harvest an organ from a cadaver (dead person) for transplant…that is just not done! Furthermore, one of the organs missing is his brain-do people think his brain is walking around in somebody’s head right now? Give me a break!

        When you die, your organs decompose, anyway. This guy is probably just a skeleton by now so I don;t know what his missing organs have to do with anything. The family needs to stick with their concerns about what led to his death and not missing organs. To suggest that they were taken as a cover up is equally absurd.

        • Devil's Advocate (The Original) says:

          I mean when doing an autopsy!

  7. Drama says:

    Why does it matter anyway? If this body wasnt examined by a second person, the family would have never known. This men was being sent to be cremated. Now all of sudden its a big issue? They dont care about these organs All they want is MONEY!!!! BHB plz give explanation and keep it moving..

  8. Pastor Syl Hayward says:

    @ gangamom: Thanks for demonstrating exactly what it looks like when people care about other people, especially those who may have less than us – or does that only apply if they are Bermudian?

    Do you have any idea how much body parts go for? It’s really big business in the States and in some other parts of the world. There has been more than one occasion where the theft of body parts has created quite a scandal. There have even been books written about the “harvesting” of body parts.

    The suspicious part of my mind wonders if there might be an underlying reason why you are suggesting this family “let it go,” a cynical and callous statement if I ever heard one.
    Perhaps an in-depth investigation might uncover something some people would prefer be kept hidden.
    I also begin to wonder how many other bodies may have been buried all unknowing they were minus an organ or two.
    In a jurisdiction with as few safeguards as this one, who knows what is happening behind the scenes. All you need are a couple of doctors with questionable ethics. And since we don’t have a “Human Tissues Act”, full-scale harvesting of body parts could be happening and it would only be “unethical but not illegal.” Hmmmm

    • Devil's Advocate (The Original) says:

      @Pastor Syl: A civilized country such as Bermuda would never do something so unscrupulous-NEVER. It would be impossible to do without permission. Also, organs aren’t taken when the person is already dead and sent for autopsy-the organs would no longer be viable.

      Even in those countries where they do this kind of thing, even there I doubt they steal organs from someone who has been dead awhile. A problem in some of those places is where someone would go in the hospital with a broken thumb and the next thing the family is told they have died. The medical people would harvest the organs right after killing the person or even while in surgery. however, I stress that you can’t do it if the person has been dead for quite some time in a morgue fridge-that just does not happen!

  9. BermudaGirl says:

    What a horrible situation! I have a feeling no one will ever resolve this for the poor family, because no one will have the grit needed to step forward. How disconcerting!